“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are” – E.E Cummings
That number is what today is about.
Today is my 21st birthday.
And that scares me.
I’ve always been weird about ‘growing up’ but there’s something about this birthday that’s different. As I’m writing this, it’s 1:16 am on the 23rd aka the day before my birthday and I feel, well I feel weird. I don’t feel old enough to be in this situation.
At work it was always a little joke that I look so much younger than I am (god bless freckles) but working alongside other adults made me feel like more of a child. When I was younger I always dreamt of the day that I would finally ‘become an adult’ as if this was some life changing moment. A moment where I’d wake up one day and feel like I’d made it- like it was the right time to level up if you will. It hasn’t been until this year that I’ve been more aware of it. It’s not just the comments at work, it’s what other people around me are doing too.
It’s in this past year leading up to the big 2 1 where I feel like everybody around me is speeding through life. A girl who I went to school with and is just a day younger than me – is married. Like what? Girls I grew up with at primary school has children and more and more people are moving out into their own places with people they love. And that crazy to me. Don’t get me wrong – I am so ready to be doing those things, especially with Connor – but mentally I feel about 5 years too young, whilst everyone else around me feels like they’re 5 years ahead. I’m not saying you’ll see me in a white gown with a child in tow anytime soon but I just don’t feel like I qualify for this new era of my life which is such a silly thing to say I know. Others have engagement rings and nappies and I still have the same lion toy (that’s me in the orange up there with him. His name’s Ted and he’s fab) I’ve had since I was a kid and he’s next to me right now. I just don’t feel ready.
I’m torn between wanting to keep my childhood alive whilst hitting these milestones that society has ever so kindly engrained on us, all whilst a) not wanting to age and b) being absolutely petrified of dying (but that’s a whole other bunch of balloons that we won’t be dealing with today.
It’s strange, feeling this way about growing up because I love birthdays. Not in a big headed centre of attention kinda way, but because to me they’re such a big deal. Connor jokes that I’ve spent a year planning my 21st and to be honest he’s right. I’ve been fretting over my outfit for months, worrying if we made the right restaurant choice (which is silly because Red Dog in Soton last night was LUSH) and I’ve been getting myself in a tizzy making sure that everything is right. And it’s not because I want the biggest and grandest of birthdays ever (we’re literally spending it in the flat with a big old roast dinner like yes pls) but because if I didn’t, I’d be a mess. I’ve become obsessed with making sure that everything is just right because I rely on that to distract me from that change of number that comes along with it. And it’s something I project onto other people too, which is just a whole other story.
Turning 21 to me is terrifying, it’s that first leap into the unknown. As of writing this its 2 days before the big day if you will and thinking about it makes me feel like im drowning. And that saddens me. I don’t wanna spend too long getting hung up on turning a certain age that I forget to enjoy it.
Which is why I’ve set myself a challenge/lil project – 1 second. Everyday. For my year of being 21. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while and I think it’s really going to help me fully embrace this new step and do you know what? I’m excited. I’m excited to capture lil moments that my brain and drowning feeling might miss – the big moments, the people and the memories of a year that is such a big one for me. I want it to be something that I can look back on and enjoy, rather that think of being 21 as such as scary thing. Who knows, I might forget to do it in a weeks time but I am determined.
Until then, I guess I just have to accept that I’ll never truly know when I’ve ‘become an adult’. Obsessing over it will only push it further away and anyway, there’s nothing bad about it either. I could build all of the flatpack furniture, get a place, get married and do all of those adult stereotypes, and still come home to Ted the Lion in bed waiting for me.
So this one is for future me – I hope that in a year’s time I’ll have embraced this new part of life and at least be a little less scared of growing up. And that this video will a) go to plan and b) will bring more of the good memories than the bad.
Come at me 21, I’ll be filming you every second of the way.